With the 2017 NBA D-League showcase games in the books, there was a lot to digest. From a game by game perspective it was a mixed bag. Some games went right down to the wire and some were straight up blow outs. This made for some relatively intriguing basketball especially when one realizes that these were all regular season games. This showcase not only was a way for players to impress the scouts, but for teams to make an impact in the standings. From taking a look at the scores, there is a clear indication that some teams had good showings, some teams had okay showings and some teams had a showcase that they would like to quickly forget.
Wed, Jan 18
WINDY CITY BULLS 109 – DELAWARE 87ERS 124
GRAND RAPIDS DRIVE 122 – RAPTORS 905 135
GREENSBORO SWARM 109 – ERIE BAYHAWKS 102
NORTHERN ARIZONA SUNS 98 – OKLAHOMA CITY BLUE 103
RIO GRANDE VALLEY VIPERS 100 – AUSTIN SPURS 119
Thu, Jan 19
FORT WAYNE MAD ANTS 78 -WINDY CITY BULLS 102
SIOUX FALLS SKYFORCE 114 – RENO BIGHORNS 105
CANTON CHARGE 117 – MAINE RED CLAWS 122
OKLAHOMA CITY BLUE 95 – SANTA CRUZ WARRIORS 86
Fri, Jan 20
ERIE BAYHAWKS 114 – WESTCHESTER KNICKS 118
SALT LAKE CITY STARS 94 – IOWA ENERGY 108
DELAWARE 87ERS 115 – GREENSBORO SWARM 111
AUSTIN SPURS 106 – NORTHERN ARIZONA SUNS 101
RAPTORS 905 111 – LONG ISLAND NETS 104
Sat, Jan 21
SANTA CRUZ WARRIORS 113 – TEXAS LEGENDS 97
MAINE RED CLAWS 112 – FORT WAYNE MAD ANTS 107
IOWA ENERGY 118 – RIO GRANDE VALLEY VIPERS 108
LOS ANGELES D-FENDERS 113 – SIOUX FALLS SKYFORCE 118
LONG ISLAND NETS 117 – GRAND RAPIDS DRIVE 122
Sun, Jan 22
WESTCHESTER KNICKS 108 -CANTON CHARGE 118
RENO BIGHORNS 121 – SALT LAKE CITY STARS 101
TEXAS LEGENDS 115 – LOS ANGELES D-FENDERS 128
While many teams can look at this week as a change of pace and nothing more, there are some teams that are definitely the winners and losers coming out the NBA D-League Showcase.
Honorable mention: Sioux Falls Skyforce
The 905 went 2-0 in the showcase and maintained their spot as the top team in the Central division. However, they did not do the way they normally win games. The 905 are known for their stout defence and if anything have trouble scoring. In the showcase, they were the complete opposite. The 905 scored an average of 123 points a game. Now there was some defensive slippage, however, head coach Jerry Stackhouse is very tough on his team when it comes to playing defense. Therefore, If the 905 can find their defensive intensity back and keep some of this offense up than this week can be pointed to as a turning point for the North Side.
Maine Red Claws
To be honest, this winner could have been interchangeable with the Sioux Falls Skyforce as both teams had really successful showcases. Both teams clearly have a lot of talent and smart coaching staffs. However the Red Claws had more games that were more fun to watch from a technical perspective. While the Skyforce had a really good game versus the Los Angeles D-Fenders and feature high flyer Briante Weber, The Red Claws went back and forth with both the Canton Charge and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the showcase and there is something to be said for entertainment value. Also, the Red Claws tend to move the ball more and play smoother than the Skyforce in the half court. To be honest the Skyforce are probably the better team head to head, however, the Red Claws were more fun to watch from a technical basketball perspective.
Oklahoma City Blue
The Oklahoma City Blue really impressed during the showcase. This was a team that was unfortunate enough to have to play a back to back in this showcase. However, this team did not moan and or complain. The Blue went into the Hershey Centre and took care of business on both occasions. Both Reggie Jackson and Dakari Johnson played well for the Blue and the bench really stepped up. Back to backs are a part of the game, with that being said, it was still impressive to see way they handled it with class and poise.
Dishonorable Mention: Long Island Nets
This Erie Bayhawks team put up gutsy efforts in both of their matchups, nevertheless they still ended with an 0-2 record in the showcase. The issue was not with their performances in the showcases, but with the season they are having as a whole. This is a team that has a lot of talent. If one were to look up and down their roster, one will see names like Anthony Brown, and Gabe York. Yet the Bayhawks are one of the worst teams in the D-League this season. The Bayhawks are definitely losing ground on the rest of their Division and there is only half of the season left.
Fort Wayne Mad Ants
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants went 0-2 in the showcase which is not a bad outing on the surface but this was probably more disastrous than 0-2 would suggest. While the Mad Ants are still an impressive team with a good record at 15-9, top seed in the division matters as the top seed in each division and two wild card teams go to the NBA D-League playoffs. While the Mad Ants do currently hold a wild card spot, winning the Central division is something the Mad Ants would rather have. Coming into the showcase the Mad Ants were still half a game behind the Raptors 905, despite the 905 winning 4 straight games (now 6 straight games). However, they lost ground on their division rival because while the 905 went perfect, the Mad Ants went winless. Luckily for them there is still a lot of games to make up that 2.5 game gap. With that being said, the Mad Ants need to pick up some wins or they will be further out of the Division race.
Salt Lake City Stars
The Salt Lake City Stars are in a similar situation as the Bayhawks. They are currently last place in their division and one of the worst teams in the D-League. However, that is where the similarities end. While the Bayhawks kept their scores relatively close, the Stars got blown out of the water. The Bayhawks average margin of defeat was 5.5 points a game, whereas, the Stars average margin of defeat was 17.5 a game. The Stars seemed out of sorts defensively and considering the Stars are actually 4th in opponents’ points per game, this seems to be a new phenomenon.
Leave a comment below on which team impressed you or disappointed you